How To Lower Cholesterol And Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of lipid, or fat, your body produces to store extra calories and provide energy. Cholesterol is another lipid that circulates in your blood. Your body uses cholesterol to build cells and produce hormones.
Both triglycerides and cholesterol are essential for your health but having levels that are too high puts your health at risk. Living a healthy lifestyle helps to keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels within a normal range.
Eat The Right Foods For You
As weve seen, there are some broad dietary guidelines you can follow to help lower your triglyceride levels.
But our research shows that everyones blood fat responses to the foods they eat are personal, with more than 10 times the difference between some people.
ZOE runs the largest nutritional study of its kind, with over 15,000 participants so far. Based on our studies, weve developed a personalized nutrition program that takes your unique biology into account to help you improve your metabolic health.
Using the latest scientific techniques, the ZOE at-home test analyzes your triglyceride and blood sugar levels after eating, as well as the microbes in your gut.
Based on your results, the ZOE program then gives you advice on the best foods and food combinations for your body and your long-term health goals.
You can take a free quiz to find out more.
Busy Lifestyles Are The Most Common Reasons For High Cholesterol And Triglyceride Levels
If you are like me and like to pack your day full of activities or if you are simply trying to balance a work and home life, watching your diet is often the last thing on your mind.
Therefore, making a healthy meal for yourself and even the family is often impossible. Processed and other fast foods are often high in the fats associated with increasing cholesterol and triglycerides.
To try and tackle this problem, I have started doing a simple menu plan. That is deciding for the week what foods will best suit my cholesterol and triglyceride lowering diet and ensuring I have the ingredients ready to go.
The idea of creating a menu plan is, the days you know you are going to be pressed for time you and organise a simple meal that is still healthy. The meals that require more preparation or cooking time, I save for the days I know I can commit the time.
- Day one Poached salmon, new potatoes and carrots
- Day two Pasta with tomato and basil sauce
- Day three Vegetable curry with rice
- Day four Chicken salad
- Day five Mackerel, rice and poached eggs
The weekend I would leave to chance, although I do treat myself to a small Chinese takeaway and a half-a-glass of red wine on a Saturday evening.
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What Makes Up A Heart
Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and plant-based foods
Vegetables, pulses , fruits, nuts, seeds and wholegrains are full of nutrients and good for your cholesterol and your heart. Go for at least five portions of fruit and veg a day to stay healthy and help you eat less high-calorie foods. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried all count.
Eat a variety of healthy sources of protein such as peas, beans, lentils, fish, nuts, chicken and lean red meat.
These foods are high in protein and nutrients but low in saturated fat. If you eat red meat, make sure it’s lean and watch the quantity. Eat less meat and more plant foods by swapping some meat-based meals for vegetarian options.
Eat some low-fat dairy products or fortified dairy alternatives
Dairy foods contain calcium which is essential for good health. Choose low fat options to avoid the saturated fat. When choosing dairy alternatives, go for unsweetened, calcium-fortified varieties.
Swap saturated fats for heart-healthy fats
Include starchy foods which are high in fibre
Choose wholegrain options such as wholemeal bread and chapatti, brown rice, wholemeal pasta or wholegrain breakfast cereals. They contain lots of nutrients, as well as fibre which helps with digestion and keeps you feeling full so you dont snack. Choose these instead of white rice, white bread and white pasta.
Cut down on sugary foods and drinks
Will A Keto Diet Lower Triglycerides And Cholesterol
No, keto diets have been shown to increase cholesterol levels. The Mediterranean diet, however, has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiac events.
The Mediterranean diet promotes eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats daily eating fish, poultry, beans, and eggs weekly reducing portions of dairy and limiting red meat.
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How Are Triglycerides Different From Cholesterol
Triglycerides and cholesterol are both fatty substances known as lipids. But, triglycerides are fats cholesterol is not. Cholesterol is a waxy, odorless substance made by the liver that is an essential part of cell walls and nerves.
Cholesterol also plays an important role in body functions such as digestion and hormone production. In addition to being produced by the body, cholesterol comes from animal foods that we eat.
Pure cholesterol cannot mix with or dissolve in the blood. Therefore, the liver packages cholesterol with triglycerides and proteins in carriers called lipoproteins. The lipoproteins move this fatty mixture to areas throughout the body. An elevated triglyceride level increases the risk of heart disease.
What About The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is an eating plan that improves cholesterol and lowers your risk of dying early. A big change for most people is to use olive oil instead of other fats and oils. Other parts of the Mediterranean diet include:
Eating less red meat, dairy products, eggs, and poultry
Eating more fish, tree nuts, vegetables, and whole grains
Drinking wine in moderation.
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Establish A Sleep Schedule
Earlier I mentioned how high triglycerides are associated with a sluggish thyroid . This is because a lack of thyroid hormone causes lipids to hang out in the blood for longer periods of time.
One way to improve thyroid function, triglycerides levels, and energy levels at the same time is by prioritizing sleep. Make sure you are sleeping at around the same time every night and getting enough sleep .
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, turn off all lights and electronics at-least 30 minutes before bed time and meditate. By doing this, you will increase melatonin and decrease stress levels, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Follow the same meditation and sleep schedule every week to wake up feeling more refreshed and healthier each morning.
What To Look Out For When Shopping For Foods To Lower Cholesterol:
When grocery shopping, there are foods you’ll want to focus on and foods to avoid to lower your cholesterol. To lower your cholesterol, focus on foods high in fiber like canned or dried beans or lentils, fruits and vegetables , as well as whole grains like quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice and whole-wheat bread. Other healthy options to focus on include those foods high in unsaturated fats like nuts and seedsincluding chia and flax, as well as olive oil, avocado and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon. These healthy fats help raise your good HDL cholesterol which protects your heart. Some other foods you can eat that may surprise youeggs and shrimp. Although traditionally avoided because they’re high in dietary cholesterol, there’s not a lot of evidence that cholesterol in foods actually raises our body’s cholesterol, so feel free to include these foods in your healthy diet plan.
To identify trans fats, look at the ingredient list and try to avoid foods that say “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated fats.” You’ll often find them in processed foods, especially processed baked goods, as well as some peanut butters, so try to opt for a natural peanut butter that contains just two ingredients: peanuts and salt.
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Taking Supplements To Lower Triglycerides
The data show that diet and exercise are practical approaches for lowering triglycerides. However, for some people, lifestyle changes may not be enough. In that case, it may be worth discussing supplements with your healthcare provider.
Heres a list of possible choices.36
- Niacin: 2,000 to 3,000 mg per day37
- Berberine: 500 mg twice daily38
- Fish oil: Eicosapentaenoic acid 2 to 4 grams per day 39
- Curcumin: 80 to 100 mg daily40
- Fenugreek: 10 grams per day41
Increased Risk Of Heart Disease
Medical science consistently demonstrates that people with higher triglycerides have a higher risk of heart disease. That is not surprising since high triglycerides are also correlated with other cardiac risk factors such as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and more atherogenic small LDL particles.49
Observational studies demonstrate the risk of a heart attack triples for those with triglycerides above 265 mg/dL compared to those with lower levels.50
Another study reports an increased risk for statin-treated patients when their triglycerides were above 175 mg/dL .51
Studies comparing the impact of elevated triglycerides on cardiovascular risk suggest it may be equally or more important than high LDL cholesterol.
One study shows genetic mutations that lower triglycerides have an equal benefit for reducing heart disease risk as those that lower LDL.52
Other studies report elevated triglycerides and triglyceride-to-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio are associated with smaller LDL particles and a more advanced coronary disease, whereas elevated LDL cholesterol show no significant correlation.53
Most recently, an evaluation of the PREDIMED trial demonstrates that triglycerides above 150 mg/dL and remnant cholesterol ) have greater predictive power for heart disease risk than does LDL.54
In fact, many trials show no improvement in the risk of heart disease or death.
Could triglyceride-lowering lifestyles have a greater impact than medications?
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Puree Fruits And Veggies For Baking
Pureed fruits or vegetables can be used in place of oil in muffin, cookie, cake and snack bar recipes to give your treats an extra healthy boost. For many recipes, use the specified amount of puree instead of oil. Check the mixs package or your cookbooks substitutions page for other conversions. You can:
- Use applesauce in spice muffins or oatmeal cookies.
- Include bananas in breads and muffins.
- Try zucchini in brownies.
Cholesterol And Triglyceride Lowering Diet Can Prevent Sudden Death
According to doctors from the health information channel According to the E-Med, individuals following a cholesterol and triglyceride lowering diet are less likely to suffer sudden death.
Reducing cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood is possible through dietary changes alone, but advice from a medical professional is always recommended. This is because people who have a high level of cholesterol or triglycerides in their blood or who suffer from hereditary conditions caused by high cholesterol, may need to take medications for a period of time to help bring their levels within a manageable range.
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How Can Triglyceride Levels Be Lowered
If your triglyceride levels are high, the next step is for your doctor to check for potential causes. Certain medications, thyroid function issues, poorly controlled diabetes, liver or kidney disease can all cause triglyceride levels to be higher than normal.
The first steps in treatment to lower triglyceride levels include eating a healthy diet, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, and aerobic exercise on a regular basis.
To lower your triglyceride levels, your diet should be:
- low in fats
- low in simple carbohydrates
- low in alcohol
If you have high triglycerides and low HDL or high LDL levels, you may need to take medication along with making lifestyle changes. If your triglyceride levels are in the very high range you are at risk to develop other medical problems, so you will most likely need to take medication.
Eating For Lower Cholesterol
Healthy eating can make a huge difference to your cholesterol levels and your heart health, whether your cholesterol has crept up over the years or you have a genetic condition. It will improve your health in other ways too, helping to lower your blood pressure, prevent diabetes and maintain a healthy weight.
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Exercising To Lower Triglycerides
While nutrition probably has the most significant impact on triglycerides, exercise can also lower your levels. But not all forms of exercise produce equally promising results.
When it comes to lowering triglycerides, higher intensity exercise is best.34
There are different ways to define high-intensity exercise. The most common is achieving greater than 85% of your maximum heart rate. However, a more useful definition may be a level of exercise where you can no longer have a conversation or a level you can maintain for only a few minutes.
Resistance training, involving a moderate amount of weight and high repetitions, can also help with triglyceride levels. Lifting extra heavy weight fewer times produces less of a significant effect.35
Does this mean lower intensity exercise doesnt provide health benefits? Of course not. As we detail in our in-depth exercise guide, physical activity of any kind has multiple health benefits.
Even if you cant get to the point where exercise impacts your triglycerides, dont let that discourage you. Carry on to maintain your muscles, strengthen your bones, and build your fitness one step at a time.
When Do Raised Triglycerides Occur
The level of triglycerides in the bloodstream rises following a meal. The amount of fat consumed will determine the rise in triglyceride levels. In order to avoid rises in circulating triglyceride levels, it is advisable to spread intake of dietary fat throughout the day. Triglycerides can be raised as a secondary effect of conditions such as poorly controlled diabetes or obesity. Controlling these can often result in lowering of triglyceride levels. Obesity exacerbates all forms of high triglycerides.
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G Fat/day Triglyceride Control Diet
You can adapt your own diet to provide less than 25g per day of fat if you are confident with this. The fat should be spread throughout the day. Otherwise please see below for some ideas or speak with your dietitian. If you are hungry, try increasing the lean protein content of the diet.
Establish A Regular Meal Pattern
Insulin resistance is another factor that can contribute to high blood triglycerides.
After you eat a meal, the cells in your pancreas send a signal to release insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is then responsible for transporting sugar to your cells to be used for energy.
If you have too much insulin in your blood, your body can become resistant to it, making it difficult for your body to use insulin effectively. This can lead to a buildup of both sugar and triglycerides in the blood.
Fortunately, setting a regular eating pattern can help prevent insulin resistance and high triglycerides. For instance, research shows that not eating breakfast can lead to decreased insulin sensitivity .
An American Heart Association statement suggested that irregular eating patterns seemed less likely to achieve healthy cardiometabolic levels. They recommended intentional eating at regular times .
However, the evidence is mixed when it comes to meal frequency.
A 2013 study demonstrated that eating three meals per day significantly decreased triglycerides compared with eating six meals per day (
Regardless of how many meals youre eating daily, eating regular meals can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood triglyceride levels.
While studies are mixed on how meal frequency affects blood triglyceride levels, research suggests that sticking to a regular meal pattern can decrease many heart disease risk factors and prevent insulin resistance.
What Are The Good And Bad Types Of Cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein is bad cholesterol. The more LDL you have in your blood, the higher your risk of heart disease. High-density lipoprotein is good cholesterol. This type lowers your risk of heart disease.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood. People with diabetes and those who are at risk of diabetes tend to have high triglycerides. When you make changes in your lifestyle to improve your cholesterol levels, you want to lower LDL, raise HDL, and lower triglycerides.
Eat To Lower Your Cholesterol
Cholesterol isnt all bad news. Follow these tips to lower your cholesterol, the natural way.
Chances are, youve heard a thing or two about cholesterol. Having high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for developing heart disease.
But did you know that you can reduce your cholesterol level by making smart food choices? Its true!
Before we get to the details, lets be clear on what were talking about. For years, cholesterol has had a bad rep that it doesnt really deserve. The truth is, we need cholesterol to function. Your body makes most of the cholesterol it needs. The rest comes from foods you eat.
Heres the important thing: Dietary cholesterol found in meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products has less impact on increasing your blood cholesterol level. Foods that contain lots of saturated fat are the true culprits.
Now heres how to make nutritious choices to lower your blood cholesterol.
Keep eating simple
In the last 20 years, the rules on healthy eating have shifted. Super restrictive diets arent sustainable or the healthiest choice. Rather than zeroing in on a single nutrient, nutrition research shows the quality of your diet matters more. A diet filled with the right portions of whole, unprocessed foods can help decrease heart disease and stroke. What does that look like? For a healthy, balanced eating plan:
Cook at home
Choose more fibre
Each of these options will provide you with two grams:
- ½ ripe avocado
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